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An insurance-friendly Mustang

Report: Ford works with auto insurers to cut repair costs for famous sports car.

August 9, 2005; Posted: 9:59 a.m. EDT (1359 GMT)

Ford Motor Co. worked with insurers to lower cost of repairs and insurance for the new Mustang.
Ford Motor Co. worked with insurers to lower cost of repairs and insurance for the new Mustang.

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The redesigned Ford Mustang is likely to see lower insurance rates due to design changes that make it cheaper to repair, according to a published report Tuesday.

USA Today reported that the design changes include stronger bumpers and headlights which are slightly behind the front grill, which should save the lights from damage in the case of low-speed fender benders.

The nation's No. 2 automaker is also using the same lock mechanisms, handles and other door pieces on the Mustang that are used on the popular Mazda6. The parts makes the cars more difficut to steal, the paper reported.

USA Today said Ford (Research) worked with State Farm, the largest auto insurer, which runs a vehicle research facility working on reducing insurance claim costs, as well as Hartford Insurance to design the more insurance-friendly version of the Mustang.

"Other (automakers) have listened to information we've provided and may have made smaller efforts in individual areas of the car, but (the Mustang) may well be the most comprehensive we've seen," State Farm research administrate Steven Schmidt told the paper. He cited Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and Honda as automakers making some changes in their vehicle designs after input from the insurer.

Schmidt told the paper the insurer isn't sure yet whether Mustang insurance rates will fall, or by how much, but the outlook is good.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, repair costs are rising at nearly double the overall rate of inflation. the paper reports. The average family will spend $870 this year on auto insurance, up 1.5 percent from 2004, the paper reports, citing the institute.

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